When seniors deal with injuries and wounds, they face unique challenges compared to the younger demographic. This is typically because they have more existing skin and health issues than younger individuals, and they are more susceptible to chronic wounds. Nutrition also plays a very important role in the wound healing process for seniors, and they must focus on improving blood circulation to heal and recover faster. Many seniors often do not take the proper measurements and precautions when they suffer with injuries and wounds, and this can cause further issues, and delay the healing process.
Most cuts and scrapes are injuries or simple wounds, that don’t require a visit to the doctor’s office. The products typically use in wound care treatments fall under two categories: traditional and advanced. When one deals with an injury, surgery, or infection, it’s important to recognize the difference between traditional and advanced wound care products, so you know what type of treatment you need. This also makes its easier when consulting your Physician.
Traditional Wound Care
To treat traditional wounds, you can find products easily at a local pharmacy or from your clinician. Some examples are bandages, gauze, lint, plasters, and wadding. These products do the right job for treating minor injuries like cuts. Pairing with antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin can accelerate the healing process, and prevent infection.
- Stop bleeding
- Absorb blood, puss, other fluids
- Prevent small particles from irritating the wound
- Reduce risk of microbial infection
- Drying the wound
Advance Wound Care Products
To treat advanced wounds, products require a doctor’s order. Examples are hydrogels, hydrocolloids, alginates, and film/foam dressings. Advanced wound care treatments revolve around the principle of moisture therapy, which provides adequate moisture to the wound to encourage natural cell repair, while at the same time allowing the wound room to breathe. Film dressings are designed to adhere firmly to the skin surrounding a wound without sticking to the wound itself. This moist environment helps prevent necrosis, which is death of cells/tissue through disease or injury. Hydrogels are designed to keep dry wounds moist; they’re especially useful for deeper wounds hydrocolloid dressings contain hydrophilic substances such as cellulose and gelatin, which absorb dirt, fluids, bacteria, which form a protective gel mass.
- Facilitate oxygen flow
- Maintain stable temperature surrounding the wound
- Protect wounds from infection
- Removes dead tissue and allow new cells to emerge
- Relieve pain during dressing changes
Two examples of advanced wound care products that we will go into detail are Hydrogel dressings and Hydrocolloiddressings. These two are often utilized and provided by doctors to patients, because they are easy to use without complication. They also provide efficient and adequate protection to accelerate the healing process.
(Hydrogel wound dressings provide proper hydration to your wound.)
The benefits of using hydrogel-based dressings for advanced wound care are vast. These dressings act quick to help cool down a wound, and provide temporary relief from pain for up to 6 hours.
How do They Work? They consist of 90 percent water in a gel base. By keeping the wound moist, the hydrogel dressing assists in protecting your body from further wound infection, and promotes proper healing.
Healing Benefits? Healing phases such as granulation, epidermis repair and the removal of excess dead tissue become simplified. The cool sensation from the hydrogel offers relief from physical pain. The risk of infection becomes decreased as the discomfort experienced from changing the dressing becomes reduced.
When to use? Dry or dehydrated wounds, severe scrapes, minor burns, wounds with granulated tissue development, radiation skin damage.
Dressing Changes? It’s advised to change the hydrogel dressing no less often than every four days. Always remember to use general safety precautions when removing the dressing, such as washing your hands, wearing gloves, and disposing the used bandage immediately after peeling off.
(Hydrocolloid dressings have a unique design that contain gel-forming agents held within a adhesive compound, which is laminated in place on a foam or film.)
Hydrocolloid dressings are used to provide a moist healing environment and insulation while using the body’s own moisture to keep the wound hydrated for proper and sufficient healing. How it works is the dressing absorbs wound exudate and forms a gel, and the properties of the gel depend on the agents contained within the compound.
When to use Hydrocolloid Dressings? These dressing have the best effects on those that are uninfected, or partial/full thickness and have low to moderate drainage. Doctors and clinicians suggest hydrocolloid dressings for granular and necrotic wounds, because hydrocolloid products protect intact and newly healed skin.
Advantages? Impermeable to protect against bacteria and outside invaders, doesn’t adhere to the wound, easy to apply on wound site, can be used in conjunction with venous compression products, minimal disruption to healing as it only needs to be changed once every several days.
Disadvantages? Not really useful for wounds with infection, sinus tracts or heavy exudate, can roll up or curl at the edges, may lead to hyper granulation, skin around wound may being to macerate.
How Should you Apply Hydrocolloid Dressings?
- Clean the wound with saline solution
- Dry the skin surrounding the wound with sterile gauze
- Center the dressing over the wound site and apply to surrounding skin with a rolling motion to smoothen out edges
- Frame the dressing with tape, if it doesn’t have its own border.
Understanding Which Product is Best for Your Wound
Traditional wound care products treat most small cuts and abrasions including cracked skin and scrapes. For more extensive wounds, wrappings will not help as it promotes dryness before the wound can properly heal. Bandages and gauze can also fall off due to drying out, movement, contact with water, or being awkwardly placed on the skin.
Deeper cuts, bleeding under the skin, severe blisters, puncture wounds, necrosis, infected wounds etc. require a visit to your doctor who may treat you with advanced wound care products to lock in the moisture, conform to the wound, and sufficiently remove bacteria.
Millions of people are living with chronic wounds in the United States. Chronic wounds are more prevalent among the 30.3 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes. Aging, obesity, heart and vascular disease, traumatic injury and cancer treatment may also contribute to non-healing wounds. It’s important to realize that wound care whether advanced or traditional should not be simply dismissed, otherwise it can lead to greater issues. The main purpose of wound care is to help you heal quicker so you can get back to your life without any physical limitations.